eCommerce Jargon Buster: Your Guide to Online Acronyms

In the heady world of web development and eCommerce, we’re well aware that sometimes there are terms and acronyms bandied about that are hard to get your head around – particularly if you’re not au fait with all things online.

Can’t tell your CSS from your DNS? Check out our handy eCommerce jargon glossary:

API An API (Application programming interface) allows two different applications or websites to communicate with each other. For instance, if you wanted to integrate a Twitter feed into your website, you’d do that with an API.

CMS A content management system (CMS) is the ‘back end’ of a website. It’s where webmasters go to edit pages, change design features and add content on a website.

CRO Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is a practice that seeks to increase a website’s performance by using analytics and design ideas.

CTR Click through rates (CTR) are used in SEO to identify how many people are visiting your site from search engines.

CSS Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a web design language. Over the last few years it has been used to replace and simplify HTML-based development methods for formatting websites but isn’t as advanced as PHP.

DNS DNS, which stands for Domain Name System, turns an Internet Protocol (IP) address, which computers use to identify websites, into a user-friendly domain name like

FTP File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a means of sending files from one computer to another.

ISP An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that allows customers to access the internet.


A Merchant ID (MID) is a number that many online merchants have in order to receive credit card transactions.

HTML HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is the basic language that’s used to write web pages.

PR A website’s PageRank (PR) is determined by Google and is used to inform where specific web pages appear in search engine results pages. Each website has a PageRank between 0 and 10, with 0 as the least authoritative and 10 as the most.

PHP Shortened from PHP Hypertext Preprocessor, PHP is an advanced web development scripting language. PHP files end in .php and can contain elements of text, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. PHP is used to build sites as big as WordPress and Facebook.

PPC Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is an online method of advertising where a business pays for every visit to its site that occurs from specific adverts in Google search results.

QR A QR (Quick Response) code is a square black and white image that allows cameras and smartphones to store URLs. They are typically used in direct mail and offline advertising to connect online methods and drive website traffic.

RSS Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a subscription method that allows you to collate content from one site and display it in another.

SEO Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a marketing technique that seeks to make a website more visible by improving its rankings in search engines.

SERP The search engines results page (SERP) is the name given to the page that’s displayed by search engines after a customer has searched for a specific keyword.

SSL Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a method of transmitting information online. It’s very secure and used by eCommerce sites to safely use customer’s payment information.


A site’s Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is its address that shows where on the internet a page may be found.

UGC User generated content is the name that denotes any blogs, images, or videos created by members of the public, usually through social channels. It’s used by businesses to develop communities and increase brand participation online.

XML XML (Extensible Markup Language) is used to structure and store information. It works in a similar way to HTML, but while HTML is used to display information, XML merely stores it.

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